Homebuyers and homeowners can avoid falling into problems when renovating or building homes by educating themselves at the Fall Atlanta Home Show on Oct. 4-6.
The nearly 320 exhibitors — plus speakers such as HGTV’s Chip Wade — will have products and services on display and offer advice at the semiannual event at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The show spotlights trends such as home automation systems, universal design, and the latest in flooring and decorative details. Homeowners can connect with companies that could help turn their vision into reality.
For the fall event, here are seven things to see and learn.
1. Rethink same-old spaces
Wade, an Atlanta native, Georgia Tech graduate and host of HGTV’s “Elbow Room,” wants to push people to customize the layout of their homes and specific rooms to fit with their lifestyles, instead of “tolerating it.” “A lot of people spend so much money on a home, and it’s just a box with nice paint and drapes,” he said.
In master suites, for example, he said the traditional layout may not be functional. He’s transformed master bedrooms into spaces with the sleeping quarters separated from the TV-watching or lounging area, recognizing that people may not be going to sleep or getting ready at the same time of day. He’s removed doors between the master bathroom to create an open concept with a free-standing bathtub and a wall providing privacy for the shower or toilet. “People are so used to being compartmentalized. I feel individuals are resistant to the change because they feel overexposed until they live in it for a while and feel it can be normal,” he said.
2. Power with solar
Energy-efficiency products and services on display range from home energy audits to solar panels to skylights. Dan Russell, president of Duluth-based GA Solar Lighting/the Sunshine Boys, uses the VELUX America’s Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylight to replace or add skylights in metro Atlanta homes. The remote-controlled skylight captures daylight to recharge, according to VELUX. The skylight, which requires no wiring, has a rain sensor that closes the skylight automatically. The skylight and installation qualifies for a 30 percent federal tax credit (visit www.veluxusa.com/taxcredits for details), and homeowners can receive an average $850 from the federal tax credit, according to VELUX.
3. Automate (almost) everything
Home automation systems — growing in popularity — enable homeowners to control any electric item, including door locks, security systems, blinds, TVs, solar panels, pool pumps, sprinkler systems, hot tub temperature and outdoor lighting, said Steve Berrey, managing director of i-Homes Atlanta, which sells Control4 systems. Voice command now is an option. “Every one of our systems is very custom-designed to the lifestyle of the person. That’s the beauty of it,” he said. Control4 home automation systems cost around $2,500 per room, depending on the features.
4. Design for all ages
The “A Home for All Ages” area will feature universal design ideas, including kitchen and bath products, furniture and safety devices designed to help individuals comfortably live in their homes longer. Items range from a barrier-free, curbless shower and walk-in tub to an elevator, lift chair and slip-resistant flooring. Products and ideas on display could appeal to senior adults as well as families who have children with disabilities, said Dale Contant, owner of Marietta-based Atlanta Design & Build. He’s seen a growing number of improved universal design products. “Even the simple things, like grab bars in showers, are starting to look nicer,” he said.
5. The latest in baths and kitchens
Complete master bathroom and kitchen redos are in demand, compared to a couple of years ago when homeowners on a budget desired to just reface cabinets and repaint. The projects are larger and more involved, such as tearing out a kitchen or bathroom, even down to the studs, said Shay Bliss Mitton, owner of Kennesaw-based Shay Bliss Renovations. Updating the electrical systems, adding extra outlets, putting in new flooring, increasing the cabinet and countertop heights, and enlarging showers and other areas often are part of the makeover. His booth, which has a kitchen and bathroom separated by a fireplace, shows trends in those rooms, such as white cabinets with a mosaic-tile backsplash. “It seems that with the change in the economy, there has been a major shift in people’s thinking and just the perception of what they personally want as far as lifestyle goes,” he said. “A couple of years ago, it was literally just cosmetics. Now what we’re seeing is a lot of people are deciding to stay where they’re at. They want to make their home personalized. They know they’re going to be there for a while.”
6. Look beyond what’s pretty
The SeeThru House is back. This 3,000-square-foot structure demonstrates what’s behind the walls, under the floor and above the ceiling in a home. ConsultAHomePro.com experts in areas such as construction, electrical work, plumbing, roofing and security are available to answer questions.
7. Participate in family-friendly exhibits
The “Fire Safety Area” — back for the seventh year in a row — educates kids and families how to flee a home in the event of a fire and other safety steps. The exhibit is presented by the Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services and Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. The area will include Fire Engine 343, donated to the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund of Georgia, in memory of the 343 firefighters who died during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
30TH ANNUAL FALL ATLANTA HOME SHOW
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 4; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 5; noon-6 p.m. Oct. 6
Where: Cobb Galleria Centre, 2 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta
Speakers: HGTV’s Chip Wade, Tonya M. Williams and Joe Washington, along with Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener. Reeves’ “The Lawn and Garden Show” and Dave Baker’s “The Home Fix-It Show” will broadcast live Oct. 5 on 95.5 FM and AM 750 News/Talk WSB.
Cost: $10; free for adults 65 and older (with ID) and children 12 and under
Info: 770-798-1997, http://AtlantaHomeShow.com